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Joburg mayor convenes urgent Covid-19 response meeting ahead of lockdown

25th March 2020 BY: Thabi Madiba
Creamer Media Researcher and Writer

City of Johannesburg Mayor Geoffrey Makhubo on Wednesday outlined the measures the metro would take ahead of the nationwide lockdown announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday in a bid to slow the rate of coronavirus (Covid-19) transmissions in the country.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said South Africa now had 709 confirmed cases of Covid-19, up from the 554 cases of the previous day.

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Makhubo announced during an urgent Mayoral Committee meeting the measures the City’s various entities and departments would be implementing.

“Gauteng, and to a great extent Johannesburg, has become the epicentre of this potentially deadly epidemic. The situation in which we find ourselves is serious and requires that we step up, in response to the marching orders of the President, with urgency,” he stated.

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The City has suspended all scheduled maintenance and planned interruptions in services to minimise the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the City’s workforce and residents.

All water and electricity cuts across the City, as part of credit control measures, are immediately suspended. Customers whose services have been disconnected must make the necessary arrangements, to ensure that water and electricity is restored, as these are necessary services in the effort to combat the spread of Covid-19.

Four-hundred water tanks will be set up at various locations for vulnerable communities in the City. Water tankers will be dispatched to unserved communities and informal settlements.

Waste removal will continue as an essential service and plans are underway to increase the frequency of waste collection during the lockdown.

Metro and Rea Vaya bus services will scale down operations but will also ensure availability of buses for those essential services staff who will be working during the lockdown period.

Metrobus will run seven buses a day, with seven drivers weekly to rotate. Three drivers will be on standby daily, as from Friday, March 27.

All buses will be sanitised every 24 hours and washed twice a day. Sanitisers will be provided for commuters on buses as well as at ticket offices and depots. 

Makhubo announced that all the City’s Licensing Centres will be closed effective 25 March, until further notice.

The Johannesburg Metro Police Department, South African Police Service and the South African National Defence Force will enforce the rules of the lockdown, as outlined by Ramaphosa.

“The above measures we are announcing are aimed at maintaining the safety and resilience of the City. Again, we emphasise the call by the President for all persons, to as much as is possible, stay home and self-isolate. We also echo Minister Mkhize’s sentiments that it is not the medical teams alone that will contain and defeat the coronavirus but it is how we as residents and citizens behave in line with the guidance being provided,” concluded Makhubo. 

EDITED BY: Sashnee Moodley Deputy Editor Polity and Multimedia
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